The city of Los Angeles is seeking ideas on developing a memorial to the victims of the 1871 Chinese Massacre, an often-forgotten mass killing in which at least 18 Chinese men were murdered in a racially motivated attack in the old Chinatown neighborhood, it was announced Friday.
The city Friday released a Request for Ideas for conceptual proposals for a memorial, which aims to raise public awareness of the massacre while also acknowledging current tensions over race, intolerance and violence.
Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a long-overdue apology on behalf of the city last year, the 150th anniversary of the massacre. He also called for a memorial to the victims in his State of the City Address.
“Our Chinese and Chinese American communities — then and now — are critical threads in the fabric of our rich cultural tapestry,” Garcetti said. “The 1871 massacre of innocent lives is a stain in our history that no monument can begin to erase. This memorial will serve as a public commemoration of the lives lost and a warning against senseless violence within our own communities.”
Proposals, due Oct. 12, will be reviewed by a panel of arts and design experts. Five proposals will be selected, and a $15,000 stipend will be awarded for the artists to develop and present their concepts in a public forum. One proposal will be selected to create the memorial.
The memorial would be located along the 400 block of North Los Angeles Street, which is near the site of the massacre and the Chinese American Museum. There will also be secondary sites that could potentially include walking or audio tours.
“The 1871 Chinese Massacre represents one of the most savage and horrific events in our city’s history,” said Councilman Kevin de LeÃ³n. “It’s necessary that Los Angeles create a memorial to honor the lives of the victims and, for the sake of genuine reconciliation, be a city that is transparent about even the shameful parts of our history. We owe it to all Angelenos to be honest about our past — the good and the bad.”
The city held community sessions last year and decided to seek a Request for Ideas instead of a more traditional Request for Proposals for the memorial in order to make the process as open and inclusive as possible, according to officials.